Millions of Gallons of Raw Sewage Spill Into Ohio River

by scrosby on November 12, 2009

An equipment failure yesterday afternoon caused eight-million gallons of raw sewage to spill into the Ohio River.

MSD Director Bud Schardein says crews were doing a preventive maintenance check of a sewer line gate when it broke and lodged into a position that allowed raw sewage to spill into the river. It was fixed by 10 o’clock Wednesday night.

Schardein says raw sewage is frequently spilled in the Ohio during a rain event.

“When you multiply it in rain events, you’re up to around, on the average, around four billion to five billion gallons a year,” says Scharbein, “so it’s not anywhere near the volume that would happen during a wet weather event.”

But yesterday’s spill didn’t occur while it was raining.

“It’s when you have a dry weather overflow like we did yesterday that’s not caused by a rain event that it’s extraordinary and obviously EPA and the state will look at it an determine whether there’s any penalties or any fines,” says Schardien. “In my view, we were involved in a preventive maintenance program which I think would be taken into consideration.”

Schardein says MSD will have permanent fix for the gate sometime in the next week.

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